Protection of Conscience Project
The All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution has received a written submission from Protection of Conscience Project on the need for laws to protect health care workers and others from coercion and discrimination.
Project Administrator Sean Murphy noted that the focus of the submission was different from that of the recent Committee hearings. “This submission is not about abortion,” he wrote, “but about freedom of conscience in relation to morally controversial medical procedures.”
“Unfortunately,” he explained, “discussions about such procedures have not always been accompanied by sufficient reflection about their impact on those who object to them for reasons of conscience.”
Mr. Murphy observed that when the procedure in question is objectionable to large numbers of people, it is usually assumed that no one would be forced to participate in it. The submission cites a number of cases to make the point that, in the long run, this is not the case.
The Project does not recommend specific measures, leaving such questions for the consideration of the Committee: “If there is or will be a need for protection of conscience legislation in Ireland, that need will have to be articulated by Irish citizens, and laws and policies framed according to the circumstances prevailing in Ireland.”
The submission to the Committee is available on-line through the Project Website.